On Tuesday, October 26, the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Congress held a hearing titled, “Caring for America: Legislation to Support Patients, Caregivers, and Providers.”
Seven bills were “heard” as part of this hearing including the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act (H.R. 3320). The Academy strongly supports this legislation and has worked collaboratively with other allied health-related associations representing the additional provider types to lobby for and secure congressional support for this legislation.
This legislation provides $5 million per year in grants and stipends for students of racial or ethnic minorities, disadvantaged backgrounds, or with disabilities, in programs preparing audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and respiratory therapists. ACAE-accredited audiology programs are specifically recognized, and the Academy is listed as an organization that would provide input into the disbursement of funds.
This legislation is critical in light of the fact that the population of people treated by audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and respiratory therapists is far more diverse than the professionals treating them.
In addition, a recent Institutes of Medicine report found that patients who receive treatment from professionals of similar ethnic background often trust their therapists more and are more likely to follow through on their treatment.
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